I used to be very into vintage clothing, and one of my "finds" was a tan cashmere roll neck sweater from the 70's. I absolutely loved that thing, but somewhere along the line it disappeared. I was going through my fabric stash the other day and came across a lovely brown sweater knit that had been a remnant from a local designer. While I stood there fondling this lovely bit of fabric, it occurred to me that the perfect use for all its drapey goodness would be a roll neck sweater exactly like that vintage 70's one that I loved so much. But where to find a pattern?
My first thought was to check the vintage patterns on Etsy and eBay for something suitably 70's, but that search turned up nothing. I next went through all my Ottobre Women and Burda magazines - still zilch. Feeling rather defeated, I decided to abandon the roll neck sweater idea and find something else in my pattern stash to use. That's when I found my untried Vogue 8634 pattern - perfect!
Once I sewed up a muslin, I realized how brilliant this pattern is. It is so incredibly easy - foolproof, really. I've had my ups and downs with Vogue patterns, but this one is fantastic. I loved it so much, I did it 3 times. Given that I have almost zero sewing time at the moment, this is quite an accomplishment. Each one only took about 45 minutes start to finish, including cutting time. That's my kinda pattern.
Here is the version with the brown sweater knit:
Here is a close up of the fabric. Isn't it divine! To get the full effect, though, you have to touch it - it is supremely soft.
Here is my muslin version. It is some sort of shimmery poly fabric. Quite nice, actually, but I didn't realize until I tried my finished garment on that it is basically see through. My husband may appreciate that, but it's not so good for picking up the kids from school. I have to wear a camisole underneath, which shows through at the bottom - yuck. Oh well!
For my third version, I wanted to lengthen it to a dress. I could have spent a lot of time fooling about with measurements, but luckily I realized that my much-adored Simplicity 2580 has a similar construction with the exact length I wanted. When I put the Simplicity bottom panel piece up to the upper front of the Vogue top, I was delighted to see they matched up exactly!
I was a little hesitant to use this fabric - it is rather loud, after all. But I threw caution to the wind and went ahead. My husband, rather surprisingly, LOVES this dress. I did take it in about an inch on either side to make it more slinky - maybe that has something to do with it.
I may want to break up the fabric's pattern with a belt, but after scouring my closet, I came up empty. How could I not own a black, skinny belt? I'm going to be 40 in a couple of weeks, for heaven's sake. How I managed to live that long without a black skinny belt is beyond me.
A slightly different view:
Anyway, you get the idea. I highly recommend this pattern, especially if you are a beginner or not used to sewing with knits. There is not much you can do to mess this up.
I also managed to make another Vogue dress, the highly acclaimed V1250. Everyone on PatternReview.com RAVES about this dress. I can't resist a good cowl neck pattern, so of course this was high on my to sew list. I added the long sleeves per Art Attack's instructions which merge Butterick 5495 with the Vogue pattern. The end result is fine, and the whole thing is very easy to sew. I still think I like my Simplicity 2580 cowl neck dress pattern more, though. I like how the Simplicity cowl hangs much better than the Vogue version.
Isn't that just an awesome color? I wish I had more of that fabric.
And one final thing for me, a Christine Jonson Shirred Top. There were approximately a billion pattern pieces to this top, many of which look exactly the same but aren't, and I did not properly mark them, so this took forever. However, I adore the end result. It is actually quite simple to make once you have the pattern pieces figured out, but it doesn't really look simple. As I've said before, that is my main criteria for judging a pattern. Love this one.
Here is a bit more of a close up so you can see all the shirring:
I just started a new part time job, so I feel like all my sewing time has evaporated. But looking at all this makes me realize I've actually been able to squeeze in a fair amount of sewing for someone who has no free time anymore. And I haven't even included the three pairs of pajamas I made for the kids last week! That makes me feel better. A girl's gotta have her sewing time.